Adding icons to the status bar in Ubuntu 12.04

Due to Ubuntu’s new ‘Unity’ UI some programs are unable to place tray icons in the top bar. One way to resolve this is to install dconf-tools and manually enter the programs you want to appear.

  • First we need to install dconf-tools by typing the following in terminal:
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
  • Now load dconf-tools from Unity or terminal.
  • Drill down to ‘desktop‘ –> ‘unity‘ –> ‘panel‘, and add the programs you want inside the ‘systray-whitelist‘ value.

An example of mine is shown below:

statusbar

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, Skype and Jungle Disk have been added.

Screen Brightness Issues with New Ubuntu Kernel

After updating to the new Ubuntu kernel I found that my brightness setting would only stop at the minimum and maximum settings.

Although it worked by echoing the correct brightness level via terminal, this was a very long winded way of doing it.

A simpler way was to edit the GRUB boot loader by typing:

gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub

Then changing the line:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

to:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_osi="

Lastly typing:

sudo update-grub

and rebooting.

Astaro Hardware Appliance for Home Use (ASG 420)

Due to an ever increasing number of devices/services being run from home, I felt it was time to upgrade my old Atom PC Astaro box to something more capable.

I’ve used Astaro for over 2 years now and it’s worked almost flawlessly (bar one small issue with it renewing the WAN IP after the connection goes down – this can be resolved by slightly changing network topology).

After searching on Ebay I ended up winning a ‘like new’ ASG 420 auction. I found it to be a very well built machine, with a good number of ports, nice bright display… and a sound I can only compare with a vacuum cleaner… and a hair dryer… being used at the same time… near the opening of a portal to hell. I should have known that a 1U was going to be loud but I’d never realised quite how loud they were in a home environment.

I tried replacing all the fans with quieter ones but that made the temperature rise to an unacceptable level. So for home use I decided to completely remove all the internal fans and have one 80mm case fan cooling the CPU.
The easiest way of doing this was to remove the 1U casing and replace it with a square of plexiglass. Then cut the relevant holes into the plexiglass and mount the fan(s).

This worked perfectly, but then the PSU fan noise started annoying me. I therefore also removed the casing of the PSU and tried cooling that with an 80mm fan. Unfortunately the airflow did not seem to be sufficient for 24/7 use. So now I have removed the PSU completely and am awaiting delivery of a stock PC PSU.

Here is the finished product (minus PSU and fans), I’ll update this post once it’s all up and running:

It will also be interesting to see whether Sophos UTM will run on this original hardware or whether I will have to stick to V8 of the Astaro software.

Saving Ubuntu Brightness Setting

After a fresh install I found that my brightness setting kept resetting itself after a reboot.
In order to save the Ubuntu brightness setting, I added the following line to my /etc/rc.local file:

#!/bin/sh -e
#
# rc.local
#
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
#
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
#
# By default this script does nothing.
rfkill block bluetooth
echo 0 > /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness
exit 0

The 0 can be replaced with any brightness value from 0 to 10.

Easiest Way to Disable Bluetooth upon Ubuntu Boot

The bluetooth option always being on when you log in can be annoying. In order to disable bluetooth upon Ubuntu boot up, add the following line to your /etc/rc.local file:

#!/bin/sh -e
#
# rc.local
#
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
#
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
#
# By default this script does nothing.
rfkill block bluetooth
exit 0

This will essentially disable bluetooth after it has been enabled on boot up. You can enable it again, as usual, by using the bluetooth panel.

Jungle Disk on Ubuntu

If you install Jungle Disk on Ubuntu, you’ll find that the program will fail to launch when you click the icon. It turns out this is due to a dependency for libnotify.so.1 which has not been fulfilled.

The deb file can be downloaded from http://packages.ubuntu.com/natty/libnotify1

I have also mirrored the files here:

32-bit .deb

64-bit .deb

UPDATE: There seems to be a far easier way to do this. Ubuntu comes with libnotify.so.4. So rather than install libnotify.so.1, you can do a symlink to libnotify.so.4 by typing the following in terminal:

For 32-bit:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libnotify.so.4  /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libnotify.so.1

For 64-bit:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libnotify.so.4 /usr/lib/libnotify.so.1